Cooking Beets

You have some fresh beets, now, how are you going to prepare them? This may seem like a daunting task to some. Relax. Cooking beets is quite simple and can be done in a number of ways. You can steam them, boil them and serve with tossed in some butter or you can roast them. You can even use them for a nice pot of borscht, and if you are thinking long term, you can pickle them.

Preparing beets for cooking can be a messy job.  You can choose to peel the beets before or after you cook them. Peeling before you cook means that they will ‘bleed’ on your cutting board and most likely onto your counter top, but it doesn’t change affect the quality of the vegetables. Peeling them is easier for some people, if you choose this method, the beets will be easier to handle if you cool them first by running them under cold water. Then when you have finished peeling the beets you can  reheat them when you want to serve them.

Now that you have decided whether to peel before or after cooking, you need to decide on a cooking method. Are you going to steam them and save a few extra nutrients? Are you going to boil them the old fashioned way or are you going to roast them? Steaming is probably the least labor intensive method and eliminates having to dump a pot of boiling vegtables into a colander in the sink, which can be hazardous. For steaming I would recommend that you use a steel steamer and not one made out of bamboo as the beets will ‘bleed’. Boiling your beets is a pretty straight forward concept, beets are a root vegetable, so the rule of thumb is ‘under the ground, boil them up’. Which means vegetables grown under the earth should be placed in a pot of cold water and then brought to a boil. As with any vegetable, particularly root vegetables, you do not want to over cook them, but you want to cook them until they are tender. This can be checked by poking them with a fork.

Roasting beets is a bit different as it is a dry heat method and requires a little bit of oil to prevent the beets from drying out during the cooking process. It is easy to do but does  have a longer cooking time than that of boiling or steaming. you will want to preheat your oven, I would recommend no less than 350 F. take your beets and toss them in a little bit of canola oil (or whichever cooking oil you prefer) and some seasonings, then transfer into a baking dish. At this point you can cover them dish with tin foil and place into your preheated oven or you can opt to roast the beets without a cover, this may still make them a dry out a little.

So now you have a bit of an idea what you can do with fresh beets next time you have some on hand and aren’t sure how you are going to prepare them.

Always remember it’s food, not brain surgery, have fun with it!

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